The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
In this essay, which was originally published in French in the catalogue for the exhibition Art Cinetique a Paris: Lumiere et movement [Light and Motion] (Paris: Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 1967), the Venezuelan Kinetic artist Carlos Cruz-Diez discusses his work, outlining his objectives and his underlying ideas. He describes some of the perceptual principles upon which his work is based, and how they affect the viewer. He explains the scientific, participative, and accessible aspects of his approach to art.
This essay, by the Venezuelan Kinetic artist Carlos Cruz-Diez (b. 1923), appeared in the catalogue for “Lumiere et movement [Light and Motion],” the important group exhibition held at the Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 1967. The Venezuelan artists Jesús Rafael Soto and Alejandro Otero, and the Argentinean artists Julio Le Parc, Horacio García Rossi, Hugo Demarco, Luis Tomasello, Martha Boto, and Narciso Debourg also took part in this pioneering event, which elevated the Kinetic movement to an important position in the art world. This essay is of historical importance because it was one of the first manifestos in which Cruz-Diez helped to establish the foundations of the Kinetic movement.
In this essay Cruz-Diez describes his two main objectives as an artist, which are: to express, on a single surface, the infinite visual possibilities created by the constantly changing effect of light on color in nature, and to seek an “alternative expression of color.” He also discusses his Physichromies, and explains that these works are based on three different kinds of color: additive, subtractive, and reflexive. He explains the scientific, participative, and accessible aspects of his approach to art. Cruz-Diez points to the artist’s role as a researcher while saying that his work has always been based on study and experimentation. He underscores his interest in the viewing public and their reaction to his art when he states—in a clear reference to North American abstract expressionism—that his own work is neither purely individualistic nor wholly personal, but depends on the viewer’s involvement. He also insists that, in his opinion, art should be accessible and should be a shared experience. In conclusion he states that his goal is to express “the naked truth about color” through his work.
In an earlier essay, “[Los nuevos conceptos y experiencias que se realizan en la actualidad…]” (1960) [see the ICAA digital archive (doc. no. 856961)], Cruz-Diez began to reflect on his research into color and how that research was expressed in his early works. In 1989 Cruz-Diez published the first edition of his book Reflexión sobre el color in which he included another essay, written as a manifesto, entitled “La reflexión” (doc. no. 857837) that summarizes the main points of his personal perception of color. That book also includes an autobiographical essay entitled “La construcción de un lenguaje” (doc. no. 857057), which provides an overview of the lengthy process involved in the construction of his own personal visual language and the various factors he had to deal with along the way. For the second edition of his book, which was published in 2009, Cruz-Diez wrote a longer version of that autobiographical essay, in which he explains in great detail how he sought to structure “a new perception of art” through his own personal discourse on the subject of color in “History of Structuring a Discourse on Color ” (doc. no. 1279691).